It’s August, must be time for a new Galaxy Note smartphone. But Samsung paired its flagship smartphone with a few other announcements this time. Here’s what it announced.
Galaxy Note 10: No more headphone jack, but the S-Pen evolves
At its yearly Samsung Unpacked event today, Samsung announced its newest smartphone, the Galaxy Note 10. And for the first time, the phone that created the phablet segment is available in two sizes -- a 6.3-inch Galaxy Note 10 and the 6.8-inch Galaxy Note 10+.
But as much as the Galaxy Note is about its screen, it’s most essential feature has always been the S-Pen. And this year, Samsung extended a journey it had started last year. While the S-Pen acted as a remote for the phone last year, this year that remote also has gesture features.
That makes the S-Pen a more versatile accessory, at least on paper. The stylus now allows you to switch between camera modes with a flick of your hand, while you can also flip the camera from rear to front using similar gestures. Samsung also has an SDK (software development kit) for this feature, which allows other apps to take advantage of the S-Pen.
No headphone jack
On the other hand, while the S-Pen became more than just a stylus this year, the Galaxy Note lost an important feature.
If you’ve watched the webcast only, you may have missed the fact that the Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ do not have headphone jacks anymore, something Samsung has touted ever since Apple removed the jack on the iPhone in 2016. And like Apple, Samsung’s reason also seems to be that removing the headphone jack provides extra space inside the phone.
A Samsung representative told The Verge that the extra space allowed the company to increase the battery size by about 100 mAh. It apparently improved the phone’s haptic feedback too, thanks to the lack of a “hollow cavity" that was earlier there to include the headphone jack.
While one could argue that the future of audio is wireless, many would be disappointed that the “everything phone" doesn’t provide wired audio anymore, unless of course you use a USB Type-C to 3.5mm convertor.
The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ will start selling from August 23, and while Samsung hasn’t explicitly confirmed it, the company has launched its Note device in India on the global launch date in recent years.
Galaxy Book S: Do mobile chipsets on laptops work?
Alongside its smartphone, Samsung also announced a laptop. The Galaxy Book S is a device that looks like a laptop, but runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cz chipset, which is based on ARM architecture, making it a mobile processor. The laptop runs on Windows 10 and has a 13-inch touchscreen display.
While Samsung didn’t give out many details about the device, the product demos shown on stage makes it quite clear that this laptop belongs in the thin and light class. The company touted 23 hours of battery life, like other Snapdragon powered laptops, though whether it can live up to this promise remains to be seen.
Galaxy Watch Active 2: Smartwatches are still a thing
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 was officially announced about a week ago, but Samsung made yet another mention at Unpacked 2019. The company’s newest smartwatch has a digital rotating bezel and comes in two sizes now -- 40mm and 44mm -- hence accommodating thinner wrists.
Samsung also announced an Under Armour edition, which links to Under Armour’s smart shoes to track your runs more accurately, at least on paper.